information technology

Romney’s White Whale: Old Man’s IT and the Election That Got Away

Moby Dick

[Illustration from Moby Dick, c. 1925 edition]

ArsTechnica did a comparison between Mitt Romney’s and Barack Obama’s campaigns’ information technology expenditures. They note a few key attributes that differentiate the Romney campaign’s use of IT:

  • Outsource anything that’s not a key competency, and spend as little as possible on it;
  • Reward “friends” with outsourcing contracts;
  • Spend on ad hoc items and pre-built SaaS* (buy from “friends” where possible).

Sure looks like the typical modus operandi of vulture capitalists that don’t invest but hit-and-run on the high seas, looking to harpoon anything of value in order to flay its carcass for cash. This says something both familiar and abhorrent about Mitt Romney and his supporters with regard to democracy.

But there are several other points that ArsTechnica missed in their assessment.

Generational shift — The difference in funds allocated and the way in which the IT monies were spent revealed a compelling truth: old guy Romney doesn’t value information technology the way younger guy Obama does. It’s a generational shift, from old school campaigns which still rely heavily on direct mail and broadcast media, to digital campaigns run by Gen-X and Millennials who are digital natives.

Based on past performance by vendors and team members alike, Obama’s team also trusts the technology team it assembled to do work quickly, effectively, on the fly. They trusted technology.

In contrast, Romney’s camp went with bigger brand name vendors like Best Buy (via service subsidiary) and SalesForce (for customer relationship management SaaS app). In mega-corporate they trust, apparently. Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
JimWhiteGNV @JamesRisen Is there one nationwide contract for screening put out by MLB or does each club contract it out? Who's making $$ off this?
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bmaz @conor64 @charlescwcooke Hmmm, what is it; have link?
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bmaz Come on folks, seriously, getting boob jobs for young Melgen hotties probably as close to good Foreign Relations work as Menendez has done.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @stephenbottomly: The real surprise is why anyone believed him in the first place! "@haaretzcom: Netanyahu never believed in a Palestini…
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bmaz RT @OKnox: Menendez allegedly asked for & got Melgen to pony up 649,611 American Express points to pay for stay here http://t.co/dLCanNnNia
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JimWhiteGNV RT @JamesRisen: MLB says it wants shorter games, but teams are telling fans to arrive an hour early to deal with metal detectors. 3 hour ga…
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bmaz @PaulBlu @rickhasen So, if you think that AMK blurb is exculpatory for Menendez, how do you explain Don Siegelman case?
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bmaz @nickmartin "Accessories After the Fact"
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bmaz Don't know where Menendez prosecution will lead, but for all you legal "experts" out there bloating about how weak it is, see Siegelman, Don
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bmaz @rickhasen PIN is foolish? There is a track record there, see: Edwards, John and Stevens, Ted.
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bmaz I feel horrible for Bob Menendez, because he was a Democratic stalwart supporting Don Siegelman! Oh, wait, that's just not true, is it?
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April 2015
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